Your brake system is comprised of a long list of parts, and all of them are under a great deal of stress much of which depends on how you drive as each of us is very different in that regard. Some of us are more aggressive than others in both starting and stopping our vehicles, we tend to "ride our brakes" and you may carry heavy loads or pull a trailer which will also impact the life of your brakes. The important aspect of your brakes and what their expected life span is that you are absolutely certain that they are working at 100% when you call on them to stop your vehicle at any given time. The task of stopping a car, truck, or SUV which weighs thousands of pounds is certainly not easy and the last thing anyone wants is to find out their brakes have failed catastrophically. When our team here at Dennis Johnson's Auto Repair goes in to do a full service or repair of your brakes we take it seriously and check the entire system for you taking into consideration multiple factors!
What kind of driver are you? Aggressive with hard turns and fast stops? Stopping the brakes or soft taps? Your brake life directly ties into how you drive and brake pads will need to be changed more often based on your driving habits and the number of miles you travel. It isn't just how long it has been since your last brake job.
What brand of brakes did you use last time? The material in brake pads can vary greatly from one manufacturer to another. There are pads that are composites of organic compounds, semi-metallic pads, and ceramic pads, and their wear rates are all different.
Do you often tow a trailer, haul heavy loads, or drive through steep terrain? The extra braking force needed for any of those will wear out brake pads faster. With all that in mind, brake pads typically last anywhere from 35,000 to 60,000 miles, depending on the above factors. What's maybe more important to know, though, is the warning signs that you do need new brakes.
Brake problems come in a variety of forms. Worn brake pads cause squeaking or grinding noises, especially when the brakes are applied, but sometimes constantly. Typically, the sound will vary with the speed of your car, and braking will alter the noise you hear. Bad brakes affect performance too. If you feel like you have to hit the pedal harder than normal to stop your vehicle, the brakes feel weak, or your car pulls to one side whenever you depress the pedal, you likely have a malfunctioning master cylinder, sticking brake caliper, or collapsed hoses. Symptoms may be erratic, sometimes only popping up occasionally, but should not be ignored. Warped or worn rotors damaged by high heat or worn brake pads will cause your car to pulse or vibrate whenever you hit the brakes. This can be damaging to other components, decrease brake performance, and is generally annoying.
Things to watch out for include:
Longer stopping distances. If it takes longer you have a problem.
Low brake fluid—your brakes are worn out or you have a leak!
Excessive brake pedal travel. If you are pushing your brake pedal further towards the floor, there is an issue.
Brake pedal feels "soft" or "spongy" underfoot Vehicle pulls to one side while braking
Pulsation or vibrations through the brake pedal or steering wheel while braking.
The tendency for one or more wheels to lock up and skid while braking means one of your brakes is working harder than the other. *Your brakes don't always wear at the same pace.
Loud Noises! Groaning, screeching, squealing, or grinding sound while braking is never a good sign.
If you are experiencing any of the above problems, or your vehicle needs any other repair or maintenance, don’t hesitate to call or come by Dennis Johnson's Auto Repair. Our mechanics have the knowledge and ability necessary to get your vehicle repaired quickly, correctly, and efficiently. Our team at Dennis Johnson's Auto Repair can diagnose any issue of symptoms - including squeaking or grinding noises, unresponsive brake pedal, or vibrations.
Whether you're a resident or just visiting our community in Madison, Dennis Johnson's Auto Repair, you can count on our team of technicians to ensure your brake system is keeping you and your family safe on the roads.